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Making fake Japanese food at Asakusa’s Kappabashi ‘Kitchen Town’ district in Japan

Making fake Japanese food at Asakusa’s Kappabashi ‘Kitchen Town’ district in Japan

You know those beautiful replica food samples you see outside Japanese restaurants? There is an area in Tokyo, Japan where you can find a lot of them. I visited the Kappabashi ‘Kitchen Town’ district in Asakusa, Japan last year to make some of these food replicas myself at the Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya, Kappabashi Showroom.

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Kappabashi Dougu Street is located in Tokyo’s Taito City, along the west side of Asakusa’s main entertainment district, and just midway between Ueno and Asakusa. Merchants first began gathering in the Kappabashi area around 1912, selling old tools and a wide range of implements and hardware.

Today, one can find just about every kind of restaurant equipment imaginable, including bakery equipment, foreign tableware, laquerware, restaurant equipment, packaging, containers, decorative goods, “fake” food samples, chefs’ coats, signs, noren (shop curtains), bamboo wares and much more. The street stretches for about 800 metres in length, with over 170 shops, It is Japan’s largest shopping street devoted to kitchen implements.

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Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya is one such specialty shops in Kappabashi. They have been producing plastic replicas for display in restaurant windows since 1932. Recently, they started running workshops for both domestic and foreign tourists to make their own food replicas to take home.

Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya, Kappabashi Showroom

Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya, Kappabashi Showroom

Ground floor where you can buy souvenirs

Ground floor where you can buy souvenirs

Noodle replicas anyone?

Noodle replicas anyone?

Display cases

Display cases

They come packed like these to take home

They come packed like these to take home

Fake sushi

Fake sushi

Fake toasts

Fake toasts switches

More fake food

More fake food

Workshop information

Workshop information

Here’s my creation of three pieces of tempura and a cabbage:

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You can register yourself for one of their workshops next time you are in Tokyo. The prices vary, depending on the type of food replicas you choose to create.

My workshop costs 2160 yen per pax and you get to take home your creation. An English instructor is not always available, but a lot of the instructions can be easily understood via hand signals or are intuitive.

Meet the instructors

Meet the instructors

What we will be making

What we will be making

I selected a fake piece of prawn and pumpkin

I selected a fake piece of prawn and pumpkin

Coloured wax

Coloured wax

Hot water

Hot water

We start with two tank of liquid – water at 42 degree Celsius and wax at 60 degree Celsius.

The fried coating on the tempura is made using the liquid wax, dipping or dripping them into the cooler water tank.

Dripping the wax to make the fried bits

Dripping the wax to make the fried bits

Drizzling it all over

Drizzling it all over

Place a piece of fake food on top

Place a piece of fake food on top

Flip and shape it

Flip and shape it

Done!

Done!

Making the tempura pieces are easier, whereby you just drizzle the wax on the water and wrap the solidified wax around the items.

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The cabbage is made fully out of wax and requires much more skills. Many steps are involved:

Drip some white wax first

Drip some white wax first

Pull and drag

Pull and drag

Shape it

Shape it

Add the green part

Add the green part

Shape it

Shape it

Pull it up

Pull it up

Fold the bottom

Fold the bottom

Roll into a ball

Roll into a ball

Done!

Done!

I like how after you cut the completed wax cabbage into half, it looks even more like a real cabbage!

Slice it open

Slice it open

The cabbage looks even more real

The cabbage looks even more real

The replicas can last about one year if you keep them away from direct heat or sunlight. They are not to be stored in refrigerator where they will become broken.

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Have fun!

To find out more about the workshop, visit the official website for Ganso Shokuhin Sample-ya.

About The Author

alvinology

Alvin is a marketer by day and blogger by night. He is a 100% geek who spends too much time surfing the web.

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